By Barry Ulanov
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Additional resources for A History of Jazz in America
Form a cross *4 forms. Contrary to the average conception of the form, the blues claims its subject, ranging impressively from Mississippi floods Orleans maisons to the and war and peace and other all creation as to New WPA problems. But the blues is not only a music for melancholia. There is sometimes retains a strain of great joy in the blues too, a joy that nostalgia or carries a thread of yearning for money, for romance, for the moon. The joy is still there, however, and so too is the great cry that identifies these songs as songs of the times.
In Philadelphia Francis Hopkinson, who signed the Declaration of Independence, represented New Jersey in the Continental Congress, and as chairman of the Navy Board probably designed the American flag, became the known native American composer. His lovely song, "My Days Have Been so Wondrous Free," was a hit in 1759. And two years first Newark-born James Lyon collected psalm tunes for the Presbychurch of which he was a clergyman, and added some of his own composition. That collection, named Urania after the heavenly Venus and muse of astronomy, established Lyon as the second Amerlater terian ican composer.
He may be up anywhere from a quarter to say a sixteenth flat in approaching a given note; the same tone divisions may mark his departure from the note, sharpening the note. In the same way jazz singers slide into or away from a note, coming in sharp or flat, departing flat or sharp. The mastery of these musicians and singers is such that they do not produce glissandos, agonized slides over a series of notes, which obliterate all tonal distinctions. For all the apparent casualness, the seeming hit-ormiss nature of their playing or singing, they know what they are doing, and after a while you come to Most blues melodies use either the blues scale, or the second five; that know too.